Friday, June 29, 2012


I know, right?
This is going to be a long....but epic one. I’m not actually sure if last night happened or if it was just a bizarre dream. Either way it was crazy. Last week our friend Hatem invited us to the wedding celebration of his friend out in Jerash. Of course we wanted to go, so a group of us hired a van and drove out. Having never been to one of these events before, I didn’t know what to expect, so I chose a nice dress and actually put on make-up for the first time since I’ve been here. As soon as we arrived at the festivities, the men were swept off to one area and we were directed to another. Sadly, because the we were segregated by gender, us women were unable to take pictures of the events. The men, however, were able to, so hopefully pictures will be coming soon. For now, you're just going to have to look at some other random ones from the past!
Slowly more people began showing up and eventually we were herded into a tent in somebody’s backyard. It was slightly bizarre that the men had a giant area in the middle of this field with tons of space, lights, and chairs, while us women were segregated to a cramped tent with no decorations or space. There was definitely a fire hazard, but we didn’t have any fireworks or sparklers like the men. The concept of segregated spaces is so interesting to me. It felt as though the men were having a big party for the groom and all the wives and daughters of those men were just hanging out and waiting for them to finish. There were multiple houses around the men’s party where women and children had climbed onto the roofs or out on the balconies just to watch the festivities of the men. I couldn’t decide if I really enjoyed being with all women or if I wish that we were celebrating together.
Camel Crossing
So after entering the women’s tent we then proceeded to dance for about four hours straight. That isn’t even a joke. It was non-stop clapping, shouting, hip shaking, and hair flipping. Every time I tried to sit down to rest I got grabbed and pulled back onto the dance floor. The women were honestly so nice to us. They kept including us in everything and teaching (or attempting to teach) us how to shake our hips like Arab women. It was so interesting to see women really letting loose, taking of their hijabs, and behaving in a very care-free way. It was also interesting to observe their behavior when men entered the tent. A few times the sound system went out, so they had to fetch some men to fix it. Every time the women would make an announcement that men would be returning to the tent and they would all put their hijabs and full length clothes on. As soon as the men were finished, however, it all came right back off.
As much fun as I was having, there was a brief period of time where I thought I might die. First of all, I incorrectly assumed there would be food at this event, so I hadn’t eaten before. Little did I know we wouldn’t get fed until almost one in the morning! I was also experiencing massive amounts of pain from some particular female organs. But this was all exacerbated by the fact that I felt slightly accosted by some of our new friends. The adult women were more than welcoming and friendly, but the young girls were a bit aggressive. They were very fascinated by us and felt the strong need to touch and pull at us. It was slightly overwhelming getting jerked every which way and being followed around at every moment. Finally there came a point when I just needed to get out of the tent for some fresh air.
After taking a breather, it was back to the festivities. The best part came when the women gathered and carried a big platter of henna down to the men’s party. We slowly walked in and were overwhelmed by the lights, fireworks, guns, and shouting. The groom’s mother was so friendly to us and allowed us to come with her to the very center of the festivities. The shouting was out of control, there was gunfire, and we were getting jostled about with dancing. This was easily my favorite part of the night. My arms even started getting tired from clapping so much!
I'd say biblical
After we left the men’s section, we were finally fed. The wait was well worth it because the mensaf was unbelievable. It was easily the best one I’ve ever. I even managed to eat it with my hands without getting too much all over myself.
I cannot believe we managed to get ourselves into this situation. I felt so lucky to be invited to such an amazing event in somebody else’s life. I also cannot believe how friendly and inviting everyone was to us. The father of the groom even invited us to come back to his farm for dinner in a few weeks. This night was very overwhelming and a bit of a shock for me, but it will definitely go down as one of the highlights of my summer here in Jordan.

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